Editor’s note: The following is a chapter from the manuscript titled “Ole Mean Carrie Buck,” written by Thomas Buxton of Columbia, S.C. The manuscript is based on interviews with his mother, Carrie Miller Buxton, about her life in Blowing Rock in the middle of the 20th century.

Tom and Ludie had assured me prior to surgery that I need not worry about where I was going following my operation, and that was to their home in Columbia to live with them permanently.

My precious daughter-in-law, Ludie, had told me, “Carrie, darling, you’re close to 90 years old now, and you just can’t live alone anymore. You should be with family all the time. We love you and want to take care of you. There are things that you just can’t do by yourself.”

I must admit that Ludie’s right about that. One consequence of my surgery was that I will have an ostomy bag permanently. That involved more than I can take care of by myself. She replaces the bag regularly for me and takes care of all emergencies relating to it. And, bless her heart, she does everything with such a good spirit. She called me “darling mother,” and I call her “darling daughter.”

The last thing I’d ever want to be is an imposition, but I know realistically that I do have to have some help. Tom and Ludie tell me I’m a real treasure and that they are blessed to have me with them. I’m blessed to have such wonderful children, particularly Ludie, who, I’m sure, loves me as much as my own children do. All you other children pitch in financially to help provide some daytime care for me while Tom and Ludie are teaching.

I had hardly arrived in Columbia when I had to be hospitalized again for a week with a blood clot in my leg. While there, the hospital chaplain performed a healing service on me, as outlined in the book of James, charter five.

A very dear Dr. Babcock had taken over my general care, including radiation therapy, as a follow-up to surgery. He calls me “an amazing little lady.”

Though scheduled to have 20 treatments, I was only able to stand 12 of them. I honestly believe that had I taken one more, it would have killed me. I just had to quit. It’s taken me about three weeks now to get over the adverse effects of the radiation: skin burns, terrible nausea and diarrhea.

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